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Kabbalah explains which aspects of a person return at the Resurrection of the Dead.

Resurrection and Reincarnation

Resurrection and Reincarnation

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Resurrection and Reincarnation
Kabbalah explains which aspects of a person return at the Resurrection of the Dead.

This article is excerpted from Shabtai Teicher's new translation and commentary on "Sabba d'Mishpatim" from the Zohar, THE OLD MAN IN THE SEA: Reincarnation, Resurrection, Redemption (part 1).

Resurrection of the Dead is one of the 13 Principles of Jewish Faith, explicated specifically by the Rambam (commentary on Mishnah Sanhedrin, Chapter 10). A short formula expressing the essence of each one of the thirteen principles appears in many standard prayer books. The formula relevant to Resurrection of the Dead is as follows:

"I believe with complete faith that there will occur Resurrection of the Dead at the time it is willed by the Creator, may His Name be blessed, and may His memory be exalted forever and ever."

The person…is a unique combination of soul and body….

The doctrine of Resurrection of the Dead is mentioned already in the Mishnah (c.170 CE), and the Talmud goes to great lengths to prove that it has been intimated clearly and repeatedly, albeit not stated expressly, by the Prophets and in the Five Books of Moses.

This principle of Jewish Faith concerns resurrection from the dead of the body and the soul. Reincarnation, on the other hand, is a phenomenon of the soul. Obviously, it is not the body that reincarnates from one lifetime to another. Moreover, it cannot be the "person" that reincarnates either. The person, for example, Isaac the son of Abraham, or Dinah the daughter of Leah, is a unique combination of soul and body. Just as the body does not reincarnate, so it seems that the combination of body and soul also cannot reincarnate.

However, the body of the person does come back to life at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead according to our belief. Consequently, the person who is the unique combination of resurrected body and rectified soul, which has a unique and particular name, also comes back to life at that time.

The complete entry of the Nefesh into the body, which is called tikun of the Nefesh, is accomplished only through the performance of mitzvot… ["Gate of Reincarnations" by the holy Ari, Chapter 4:2 - Mitzvot and Tikun].

This means that tikun proper applies to the completion of the Nefesh by the entry of new sparks, which is caused by the fulfillment of positive mitzvot.

In addition, the Ari states,Text "[Regarding one] who only received a Nefesh during his lifetime and didn't merit to completely rectify it and then dies, since the first body did not complete the tikun of all levels of Nefesh, then at the time of Resurrection of the Dead only those sections of soul that were rectified in the lifetime of that body return with it." (ibid)

Since the body has participated in the performance of mitzvot, it is only just that it should also share in the eternal reward that is the consequence of the performance of mitzvot. Therefore, it too comes back to life in the time of the Resurrection together with those parts of the soul that were rectified during its lifetime.

When this particular reincarnation will resurrect, it will receive only those sparks that were rectified through it. The other parts of the Nefesh will return to the other bodies wherein they were rectified.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, also know by the acronym "Rashbi," lived in the Holy Land in the 2nd century C.E. A disciple of Rabbi Akiva, Rashbi played a key role in the transmission of Torah, both as an important Talmudic sage and as author of the Zohar, the most fundamental work of Kabbalah. He was buried in Meron, Israel, west of Safed.
Shabtai Teicher, a descendant of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Reshab, was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and settled in Jerusalem in 1970. He studied for over 7 years with one of the outstanding and renowned kabbalists of our generation, Rabbi Mordechai Attieh, and also studied deeply in various other fields of Jewish scholarship. He was a specialist in Lurianic Kabbala, edited and annotated the first eleven chapters of our English rendition of "Shaar HaGilgulim," and completed his manuscripts for "Zohar: Old Man in the Sea," in both Hebrew and English, shortly before his unfortunate passing in November 2009.
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Niram Milan, Italy October 19, 2013

Reincarnation and Resurrection What is not clear from all of this is. If the person, body and soul is resurrected in the haba haolam, but only those part of the nefesh which have undergone tikkun will resurrect with the body and the others which have not been rectified go for rectification to another body, it can only mean that the nefesh is not constitutive, as a whole, of the identity of the resurrected body. In other words, what constitutes the identity of a resurrected person, are his soul and his body, but the text says that a person can resurrect also with a part of his nefesh. This seems to imply that the nefesh is impersonal and not individual. Frankly I don't see the necessity of adding reincarnation to resurrection. I think that Occam razor will be more than suitable here. Reply

sandrahurst jacksonville, florida via December 20, 2009

reiincarnation and the bible question: are you saying that its no such thing as reincarnation, even though in the bible in Isaiah 65:17 that says 'i create new heavens and a new earth and the former should not be remembered or come into mind? if the former earth is stated, that mean that we had to been on earth before right? also, in genesis where it states that god replenish the earth(to refill of what was empty before). Reply

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